When struggling with mental health issues it may often be challenging to control one’s thinking and break toxic cycles of behaviors and relationships. Evidence consistently shows that one treatment modality, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), is especially effective in supporting clients struggling with poor impulse control, patterns of self-harm and overly emotional, negative thoughts. DBT is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is oriented towards challenging clients’ habits and thoughts and working to cultivate skills to make a meaningful impact in their lives
At its core, DBT is a therapeutic approach that provides a non-judgmental and supportive space for clients to build distress tolerance and learn to work through stressors that trigger impulsive responses. DBT is especially effective in working with clients who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and clients who struggle with persistent suicidal behavior. In fact, DBT works to ground clients by offering them a ‘’middle path’ or the ideal balance between emotional and rational well-being.
Over the course of DBT therapy clients can expect to experience more stability in behaviors, moods, self-image and exercise greater control over their self-harming impulses. Like other forms of psychotherapy, DBT is administered in individual and group formats and requires its practitioners to complete homework and diary cards on their own. There are 4 critical components to DBT which follow below:
- Distress Tolerance: When emotions become overwhelming, distress tolerance aims to reduce stress without resorting to unproductive and injurious behaviors.
- Emotional Regulation: Regulating emotions begins with identifying and tracking emotional experiences and anticipating how to balance one’s feelings.
- Mindfulness: Self-awareness is an important part of DBT and supports clients by cultivating an empowered and healthy self-image.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness: By utilizing interpersonal tools and learning methods of communicating effectively, clients can expect to create more meaningful and fulfilling relationships.
In practice, DBT treatment can last for several months up to over a year and requires a trusting and supportive therapeutic relationship between client and clinician. Resilience’s clinicians are trained to integrate DBT skills at an individual psychotherapy sessions as well as in group sessions, especially in Resilience’s DBT specific program. At Resilience Treatment Center, DBT represents a core component of the Residential, Partial Hospitalization (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient (IOP) programs. Working in conjunction with one’s primary therapist, clients are empowered to build emotional resilience, a strong and healthy sense of self and fulfilling relationships within their community.